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India wants to keep Iran oil purchases at 300,000/bpd in extended waiver – Sources

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Waiver

India has reduced its purchases of Iranian oil but has been in talks on extending its sanctions waiver, a senior India official said in January.

New Delhi is asking to be allowed to still buy Iranian oil at current levels of around 1.25 million tonnes per month or about 300,000 barrels per day, the sources said.

The U.S. re-imposed sanctions against Iran in November last year in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear and missile ambitions after President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers.

Although the U.S. granted Iran’s biggest customers – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece – waivers that have allowed them to continue limited imports, Washington is putting pressure on governments to eventually cut imports to zero.

The current round of waivers expires around May 4.

Vincent Campos, a spokesman at the U.S. State Department’s energy bureau, did not confirm that India was asking the United States to renew its waiver but said talks are ongoing with the eight consumers of Iran’s oil that received waivers in November with the aim of eventually cutting the imports to zero.

“We continue to have bilateral discussions,’’ with each of the countries including India, Campos said.

Iran, a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exported almost three million bpd of oil at its pre-sanctions peak, but supply has dwindled to around 1.25 million bpd since the start of the year, shipping data in Refinitiv showed.

Talks with Washington on extending the waiver slowed due to the U.S. government shutdown that extended through January, one of the Indian sources said.

Talks have now resumed and India wants to get clarity before general elections scheduled in May, the source said.

No immediate comment was available from India’s oil and external affairs ministries.

India’s move to seek extended sanctions exemptions comes as Washington plans to end preferential trade treatment for India that allows duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its exports to the U.S.

India is the biggest beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which dates from the 1970s, and ending its participation would be the strongest punitive action the U.S. has taken against the country since Trump took office.

Foreign

India’s Western Coalfields opens three new coal mines

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Coal India subsidiary Western Coalfields Limited on Saturday opened three new coal mines.

The mines were opened in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

According to India’s federal ministry of coal, these mines will have combined annual production capacity of 2.9 million tonnes (MT).

The company will generate direct employment for 647 people with these projects.

WCL has to produce 75 MT of coal by financial year 2023-24. Opening of these mines will certainly add in the efforts of the company reaching this milestone and also help Coal India achieve 1 billion tonnes (BT) coal production target by financial year 2023-24,” federal minister of Coal Pralhad Joshi said.

According to officials, the three mines are Adasa Mine, an underground to open cast mine, in Nagpur Area of Maharashtra, Sharda underground Mine in Kanhan Area (Maharashtra) and Dhankasa underground mine in Pench Area of Madhya Pradesh.

“The annual coal production capacity of Adasa mine is 1.5 MT whereas Sharda and Dhankasa mines are having annual coal production capacities of 0.4 MT and 1 MT respectively,” the ministry said.

Joshi said the opening of these three mines is a part of WCL‘s future plan to start 20 new projects by financial year 2023-24 including 14 in Maharashtra and six in Madhya Pradesh.

(XINHUA)

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Death toll in India’s chemical factory blast rises to 10

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The death toll in a massive explosion inside a chemical factory in India’s western state of Gujarat has risen to 10, officials said on Saturday.

The blast went off at a plant in an industrial area on Wednesday in Dahej of Bharuch district, about 254 kilometres south of Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat.

“So far, 10 people were killed in the blast and over 70 others have received very severe to minor burn injuries,’’ a local government official at Bharuch collectorate office said.

According to officials, a boiler inside a pesticide making agro-chemical factory exploded while workers were working inside the factory.

Locals said the sound of the blast was heard up to three kilometres radius.

Officials said they were trying to ascertain the reasons behind the blast.

“Police team is investigating the matter,’’ the official said.

The victims are hospitalised at several hospitals.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Nomadic tribe begins bi-annual seasonal migration towards upper reaches of Indian-controlled Kashmir

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A nomad family walk with their horses and dogs during their migration towards upper reaches,on the outskirts of Anantnag town, about 65 kilometers south of Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, June 5, 2020. The nomadic tribe known as Bakerwals has begun the bi-annual seasonal migration towards upper reaches of Indian-controlled Kashmir in the wake of the rising temperatures in plains. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

(XINHUA)

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Nigeria, India deepen bilateral defence cooperation

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The Nigerian Government and India have moved to deepen the existing mutually beneficial bilateral Defence Co-operation at ministerial levels between the two countries.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Defence on Media and Publicity, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadri, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

Abdulkadri said that the indications to this move emerged during the India’s High Commissioner, Abhay Thankur, courtesy call on the Minister of Defence,  Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), in his office.

He said that while hosting the Indian High Commissioner to NIgeria, Magashi raised the issue of bilateral interest to the two countries.

He said the discussion between the representatives of the two countries was done behind closed doors.

”The highly classified and restricted matters that are strategic to common interest of the two countries were witnessed by Senior Military Officers and some Principal Personnel of the Ministry and the Indian Defence Adviser, Colonel Cachin Dubey.

“It is on record that the two countries Armed Forces enjoy Defence co-operation in the areas of training and exchange of Military programmes as captured in the Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.


Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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India registers record single-day COVID-19 spike, caseload tops Italy’s

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India surpassed Italy as the sixth worst-hit country in the world from the coronavirus as its biggest single-day surge of infections was recorded so far, data showed on Saturday.

The Health Ministry reported 9,887 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 236,657.

The cases have been rising sharply, by 8,000 or more, for several days now.

At least 294 deaths linked with COVID-19 were registered since Friday, bringing the total to 6,642.

The figures showed that India had climbed to the sixth spot in the list of nations worst hit by the pandemic, overtaking Italy’s 234,531 total cases by Friday evening, a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University in the United States showed.

India’s fatality rates, however, have been relatively low compared to countries worst-affected by the pandemic, including Italy.

The South Asian country has only about one-fifth of Italy’s COVID-19 deaths that stand at 33,774.

Overall, India ranks 12th in fatalities.

According to the Health Ministry data, the count of recoveries had risen to over 114,000 cases.

Still, India had more than 115,000 active cases across the country.

Indian officials contend that the more than two month-long lockdown, the largest in the world, kept the mortality rates down.

They also cite effective clinical management and less severe infections in India, which has a population that skews younger.

They have denied allegations of under-reporting COVID-19-related deaths.

The case fatality ratio – or proportion of deaths to the total number of cases – has been steady at 2.8 per cent, which is lower than the global mortality rate of 5.8 per cent, the Hindustan Times daily reported.

However, experts warned that the densely populated country had yet to see the peak of the pandemic.

India’s main cities, the national capital New Delhi and financial hub of Mumbai, are the epicentres of the outbreak in India, accounting for 45,000 and 35,000 cases respectively.

People in these cities have taken to social media to talk about patients struggling to receive medical attention, with some hospitals contending they did not have enough beds left.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal however said there was no shortage of beds and strict action would be taken against some hospitals that had turned away patients.

Many new cases were reported from rural areas after hundreds of thousands of daily-wage migrant workers left cities and towns under lockdown to return to their villages, having found themselves without work during the pandemic.

Authorities began allowing their movement out of the cities in early May, leading to chaotic and crowded scenes at border checkpoints.

The government has been easing the lockdown, which began on March 25, over the past weeks in an attempt to revive the economy.

The restrictions are now being enforced in containment or high-risk zones, while marketplaces, businesses as well as industrial activity have been allowed to reopen and road, rail and air travel have resumed.

The government also announced new rules for re-opening of malls, restaurants, hotels and places of worship with restrictions on large gatherings from Monday.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Death toll in India’s chemical factory blast rises to 10

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The death toll in a massive explosion inside a chemical factory in India’s western state of Gujarat has risen to 10, officials said Saturday.

The blast went off at a plant in an industrial area on Wednesday in Dahej of Bharuch district, about 254 km south of Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat.

“So far 10 people were killed in the blast and over 70 others have received very severe to minor burn injuries,” a local government official at Bharuch collectorate office said.

According to officials, a boiler inside a pesticide making agro-chemical factory exploded while workers were working inside the factory.

Locals said the sound of the blast was heard up to three km radius.

Officials said they were trying to ascertain the reasons behind the blast.

“Police team is investigating the matter,” the official said.

The victims are hospitalised at several hospitals.

(XINHUA)

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India reports highest daily spike of 9,887 cases as total reach 236,657

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India’s federal health ministry Saturday morning reported 294 new deaths and 9,887 new COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 6,642 and total cases to 236,657.

This is the highest daily spike in the number of cases and deaths in the country.

According to ministry officials, 114,073 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement, and the number of active cases in the country stood at 115,942.

The fifth phase of nationwide lockdown came into force from Monday, marking several relaxations and reopening in a phased manner.

On March 25 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 and break the chain of infection.

(XINHUA)

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India’s Maharashtra state crosses grim milestone of 80,000 cases of COVID-19

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India’s western state of Maharashtra crossed the grim milestone of 80,000 COVID-19 cases with the 2,436 fresh cases, as per the official update late Friday.

The state also reported the highest number of single-day fatalities of 139 on Friday after reporting 123 deaths on Thursday.

Maharashtra is the worst affected Indian state by COVID-19 with the southern state of Tamil Nadu being a distant second with over 28,000 cases and over 200 deaths.

The western state has 560,303 people in quarantine with 2,849 deaths reported due to the virus so far, said the State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, has close to 46,000 confirmed cases and has conducted over 215,829 tests as per Friday night. However, the test rate is considered low for the city, which has a population of close to 20 million.

Media reports suggested that India’s financial capital, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s novel coronavirus cases, has been under scrutiny for testing a restricted number of around 4,000 samples daily, though having a capacity to carry out about 10,000 tests per day.

Mumbai civic officials declined to comment.

As per India’s Federal Health Ministry, the country registered 9,851 more cases and 273 deaths in the past 24 hours till late Friday. The country now has 226,770 confirmed cases, including 110,960 active cases and 6,348 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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People collect recyclable items at garbage dump site in India

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People collect recyclable items at a garbage dump site in Agartala, Tripura, India, on June 5, 2020. World Environment Day, a United Nations (UN) campaign to raise awareness about the protection of the environment, is celebrated every year on June 5. (Str/Xinhua)

(XINHUA)

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